The Four-Powers Pact, signed on 13 December 1921 by the United States, Great Britain, Japan and France, provided that all signatories be consulted in the event of controversy between two of them on “any peaceful matter”. An accompanying agreement indicated that they would respect each other`s rights with respect to the various Pacific islands and the mandates they held. These agreements have ensured that there is a framework for consultation between the United States, Great Britain and Japan, the three major powers whose interests in the Pacific are most likely to lead to conflict between them. But the agreements were formulated too vaguely to have a binding effect, and their main reason was that they lifted the Anglo-Japanese alliance (1902; renewed in 1911), which was previously one of the most important means of maintaining a balance of power in East Asia. Another additional document defined Japan`s “island-shaped possessions and dominations.” In addition to multilateral agreements, conference participants concluded several bilateral agreements. Japan and China signed a bilateral agreement, the Shangtung (Shandong), which returned control of the province and its railways to China. Japan had taken control of the territory by the Germans during World War I and had retained control of it in the following years. The combination of the Shangtung Treaty and the Nine-Power Treaty should assure China that its territory will no longer be threatened by Japanese expansion. In addition, Japan has agreed to withdraw its troops from Siberia and the United States and Japan have formally accepted equal access to cable and radio equipment on Japan-controlled Yap Island.
This great obstacle to the conclusion of a new maritime agreement hides problems that were bypassed in 1930, but which cannot be easily circumvented at the 1935 conference. It is accepted, for example, that Britain will not again be a party to an agreement to limit submarines and light surface vehicles, unless France and Italy are included in its scope. Serious disagreements on these issues continue to separate the United Kingdom and the continental powers, while no formula has yet been found to satisfy Italy`s naval parity requirement with France. Therefore, if the three highest naval forces were to meet expectations by committing themselves to the principles of limitation among themselves, the European aspects of the problem still need to be clarified. The President very much welcomes the cordial response to his proposal to hold a conference on arms control, in conjunction with which the issues of the Pacific and the Far East should also be addressed….. The huge disbursements in the rivalries of armaments obviously end most of the burden of entrepreneurship and national prosperity….